It is necessary for Croatia to finally give up coal

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One coal-fired thermal power plant that is currently active in Croatia – Plomin 2 was built in 2000. In addition, HEP plans to reopen the ancient TPP Plomin 1, built in 1970 and closed in 2017. For this purpose, Zelena Akcija/Green Action sued the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, which issued an environmental permit to HEP for the project.

The Government of the Republic of Croatia should completely abandon the opening of the Plomin 1 thermal power plant, prepare for the closure of TPP Plomin 2 in the next five years and urgently start the process of transition of the energy sector to renewable sources. This is the message sent by the Green Action in Zagreb, where it organized an ironic performance to point out the need for the final cessation of coal use in the energy sector.

“Coal-fired power plants have a very negative impact on the climate and air pollution. No promised modernization of these plants can eliminate high greenhouse gas emissions, which will further aggravate the current climate crisis “, said Bernard Ivčić from the Green Action and pointed out that Croatia needs an urgent plan to completely abandon coal.

While many countries are announcing the complete closure of all coal-fired power plants in the next few years, Croatia is still counting on them in the long run. In addition, in the last 20 years or so, Croatia no longer has its own coal at all, but imports it entirely, largely from Colombia, where mining violates human rights. “The era of coal is coming to an end, but despite that, all HEP governments and managements have strongly advocated the use of coal in the past period. Therefore, Croatia now does not have a plan for real and effective decarbonisation, “Ivcic added.

Numerous countries have developed and time-determined plans for the so-called coal -phase-out, ie. cessation of coal use in the energy sector. For example, Belgium closed its last coal-fired thermal power plant in 2016, and Austria and Sweden did so last year. In Portugal, the last coal-fired power plant will be closed this year, the UK and Ireland will leave coal by 2025, Greece by 2028, Finland and the Netherlands by 2029, and Denmark and Hungary by 2030.

Activists ironized the recent energy policies of the Croatian government and HEP with a performance in which they promoted the cover of a newspaper called ‘New Fossilist’, in the style of the 1970s, when Plomin 1 was put into operation. On the cover, they showed Minister Tomislav Ćorić dancing around TPP Plomin in a ‘disco’ suit, and the main headline was the ironic message ‘Coal – a super energy solution for the 21st century’. “It seems to us that this message reflects the real opinion of Ćorić’s ministry and HEP on Croatia’s energy policy,” Ivčić concluded.